Soils are identified through the New Zealand Soil Classification System and/or through giving soils a common name.
To some extent the names of soils and the classification of soils offer complementary approaches to identifying soils.
Soil scientists tend to use the NZ Soil Classification System for soil identification since the procedures employed eliminate ambiguity.
Common names persist for historical reasons and because using the names of soils is often locally meaningful.
A similar duel system applies to identifying plants and animals - the rodent that accompanied early Maori to New Zealand, named the kiore or native rat, is classified as Rattus exulans.
Te Kowhai silt loam is an example of a soils common name, Typic Orthic Gley is its classification.